Motherhood bereavement in Pakistan

Motherhood is one of the most beautiful job in the whole world. This marks a new chapter in the history of every woman. It gives a new strength in women life, something you did not know was there until you had children. It also gives you a new sense of purpose and meaning in life. You meet a love and a passion for your children that you have never known before.

“All the forces on this planet, will never beat that of a mother’s love.”

Motherhood is emotional to define as well because mother is an only person who forget who she really is after birth of a child. Sometimes this motherhood turns in to a worse nightmare when it turns in to the death of a mother or a child.

There is consensus that the maternal mortality rate is an important indicator of a nation’s overall health status. However, the latest figures from the United Nations give an image that should alarm us.

The United Nations Population Agency (UNFPA) has just released its 2017 State of the World Population Report. It finds that maternal mortality accounts for 28% of the global total. In other words, these deaths translate into a maternal mortality ratio (MMR) of 127 deaths per 100,000 live births. However, the news is not bad, as countries like Bangladesh, Laos, East Timor and Indonesia are able to bring their MMR less than 70 deaths per 100,000 by the 2030 deadline, However, others such as Pakistan join the list of those who are not on the right track to respond to the above, including Afghanistan, India, Nepal, Papua New Guinea. Guinea, Myanmar, Cambodia and the Philippines.

In Pakistan, as in most developing countries, the poorest women have fewer options in terms of family planning and access to antenatal care. They are also more likely to give birth without the help of a doctor or midwife.

According to the Population Council, an international non-governmental non-profit organization, about 8.6 million women are pregnant in Pakistan of these, 1.2 million (or 15%) of women are likely to face obstetric complications. In fact, ten years ago, the 2007-2008 Demographic and Health Survey of Pakistan (PDHS) estimated that the maternal mortality ratio (MMR) in the country was 276 per 100,000 live births.

According to current estimates, Pakistan loses 14,000 women who die in childbirth each year; translate into one death every 37 minutes.It does not have to be like that. However, the state has paid little attention to investing in meeting the unmet needs of family planning.

A good starting point would be the introduction of a national policy in this regard; something that has been promoted as a priority by all provincial ministries of health. There’s no time to lose. Considering in particular all maternal deaths, some 4,500 people could be easily avoided if only Pakistan had a strengthened health system, especially in primary education.

The Population Council has identified different networks that may be useful at the community level to record data on maternal deaths in Pakistan. Health workers are still the best resource; however, other networks may complement the data collection.

According to estimates of the Population Council, Punjab suffers from 302 maternal deaths per 1,000 live births and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 275. This raises important questions about the quality of emergency obstetric care available in institutions and the lack of functional system in the district level.

Obstetric hemorrhage and hypertension induced by pregnancy are the two leading causes of maternal death in Pakistan. Therefore, these conditions must remain at the forefront of future policy interventions; especially because both are easily avoidable today. That said, women’s lives can only be saved if trained midwives are integrated into a comprehensive referral system that includes the means to transport women urgently to facilities that provide the necessary level of specialized obstetric care.

Needless to say, the lack of reproductive health services, including family planning, for the poorest women in Pakistan has a negative impact on the economy. This, in turn, sabotages the country’s progress in achieving the primary SDGs the eradication of poverty.

Economic inequalities are reinforced, including those related to women’s health, where only a privileged few can control their fertility and thus acquire skills. This must be addressed in an emergency. Only when the poorest women in the world have the power to control their own fertility will nations be able to face threats to peace and development.

The absence of a legal framework to provide access to family planning, particularly for the poorest, has always been a stumbling block for many, many years. I appealed to Government to look after this matter as no more motherhood turns into nightmare.

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